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Semale Sosielf DISCOURSES

ON THE 91111 CONDITION AND DUTY OF UNCONVERTED

SINNERS;

ON THE SOVERIIGNTY
OF GRACE IN THE CONVERSION

OF SINNERS;
1. AND ON THE

MEANS TO BE USED IN
THE CONVERSION OF OUR NEIGHBORS.

BY THE REY. GEORGE LAWSON, " MASTER Dpmind hi's soczTE CONGREGATION - IV

SELKIRK,

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PRINTED AT NEWBURGH, N. Y.

FOR ELDAD LEI IS;
AT THE OFFICE OF LEWIS AND CROWELL

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RECOMMENDATION. Having perused the following Essays, we earnestly recommend them to the Friends of E. " vangelical Truth, as among the most able and satisfactory productions we have seen, on the subjects to which they relate.

JAMES SCRIMGEOUR. :

John Johnson.
Newburgh, January, 1812.

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THAT no power less than the Almighmi ty power of God is able to recover us from

that misery which we have brought upon ourselves, is too evident to be denied with any appearance of reason. We could not give unto God a sufficient ransom for our souls to pacify his wrath; and when the ransom hath been paid down by our divine Surety, it will be of no benefit to us, if we are not made partakers of Christ and his salvation, by the effectual operation of the divine Spirit. We are by nature dead in sin, and cannot make ourselves alive. That divine power which made us men is necessary to make us saints. It was God's design in the application, as wellas in the purchase of our salvation, to shew forth the exceeding riches of his grace. But if any exertions of our own powers can bring us into a state of salvation, it is no more of grace, far less of the exceeding riches of

grace, Rom. xi. 6. “By grace are ye savo ed, through faith ; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift ofGod. Not of works,lest any man should boast; for we are his work manship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.” Eph. ii. 8,- 10.

But does not this doctrine natively tend to produce either despair or uncertainty in the hearers of it, if they apprehend that they are not already in a state of salvation? If they are earnestly desirous of escaping from the wrath to come, will they not sink into despondency when they reflect that neither they, nor any of their fellow creatures can deliver them? Or, if they are not much con. cerned about salvation, will they not find a fair pretence in this doctrine for setting their minds at ease concerning their eternal state, and for putting off the sorrows of a sinful and miserable condition to a long day?

That such conclusions were drawn in very early times from this doctrine, or doctrines connected with it, appears from the objections to Paul's doctrine concerning the sovereignty of divine grace, Rom. ix. 19. I am sorry to find, that some zealous contenders for this doctrine furnish too fair a pretence for such conclusions, by alleging that there is no more reason to hope for the salvation of those who are trained up to attend the means of grace, than of those who cast off equally the fear of God and man.

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The doctrine, that there is no more reason to hope for the conversion of unregenerate persons who attend the means of grace, than of those who do not attend them, appears to me to be not less pernicious than the doctrine of those who teach that men have it in their power, by the use of means, to convert themselves.

If men are made to believe that there is no advantage in reading or hearing the word of God, unless they are already converted, what will they do ? Persons do not use to undertake any business, without some hope of success and advantage. If you persuade a man, that there is no more hope of a crop, though he should plant and sow his ground, than if he leave it wholly uncultivated, will he put himself to the trouble of performing all the labors of husbandry ? 5 he that laboreth," says Soo loman, o laboreth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.” He that is not stimulated by desire and hope, will do nothing.

When you advise some sick persons to have recourse to the physician, they will tell you that it is vain; the number of our days is fixed by a divine decree; and all the physicians in the world cannot lengthen the time of our life. Thus, when you tell sinners that they must diligently use the means of salvation, some of them will say, why

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